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Eur J Neurosci. 2018 May 18. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13952. [Epub ahead of print]

Voxel-based morphometry in creative writers: Grey matter increase in a prefronto-thalamic-cerebellar network.

Author information

1
Institute of Diagnostic Radiology and Neuroradiology, Functional Imaging Unit, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.
2
Institute of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

Abstract

Continuous practice modulates those features of brain anatomy specifically associated with requirements of the respective training task. This study aimed to highlight brain structural changes going along with long-term experience in creative writing. To this end, we investigated the grey matter volume of 23 expert writers with voxel-based morphometry and compared it to 28 matched nonexpert controls. Expert writers had higher grey matter volume in the right superior frontal and middle frontal gyri (BA 9,10) as well as left middle frontal gyrus (BA 9, 10, 46), the bilateral medial dorsal nuclei of the thalamus and left posterior cerebellum. A regression analysis confirmed the association of enhanced grey matter volume in the right superior frontal gyrus (BA 10) with practice index of writing. In region-of-interest based regression analyses, we found associations of grey matter volume in the right Broca's analogue (BA 44) and right primary visual cortex (BA 17) with creativity ratings of the texts written during scanning, but not with a standardised verbal creativity test. Creative writing thus seems to be strongly connected to a prefronto-thalamic-cerebellar network that supports the continuous generation, organisation and revision of ideas that is necessary to write literary texts.

KEYWORDS:

creativity; expertise; language; voxel-based morphometry; writing

PMID:
29776018
DOI:
10.1111/ejn.13952

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